LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A group of skateboarders who ride on Sundays at a Lexington park are also meeting to pray together.
They meet for Lexington Skate Church, which is affiliated with Lexington's Simple Church, which emphasizes gatherings outside a formal church environment.
Their leader on a recent Sunday was Joshua Roberts, who brings donuts, juice, Mountain Dew and an egg-and-bacon casserole.
"What better way to do church than with a skateboard," Roberts told The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/13FjIXd ).
Roberts has been skateboarding "since I can remember ... and found Jesus a few years ago."
The gathering began in 2012 with visits to various skateboard venues, but this year the church has been more centered around Woodland Park.
About 15 people attended the recent Sunday service, held around the picnic tables, ranging from middle school to young adult in age. Roberts begins by reading scripture, then urges other attendees to share scripture, experiences and reflections that have been meaningful to them.
Some of the Bibles used by the group are tiny pocket versions; others read their verse from a smart phone. Katherine Hager, Roberts' fiancée, reads aloud a reflection she has written on the back of a recipe.
Gideon Maki says the skate church has returned him to prayer, after he stopped going to traditional church services.
Maki reads a bit from Lamentations, in which Jeremiah talks about suffering, "the wormwood and the gall," followed by grace.
"It's against the culture of the world to look at your brokenness ... and move forward," he told the group. "But it gives you a place, through God, to move forward."
Will Jennings, 12, came to the outdoor service with his mother and sister. The family commutes from Frankfort to attend the church.
"I just like coming and talking about God," he said. "This helps me be faithful to God — and I get to skate and see my friends from Lexington."
Roberts, a longtime skateboard enthusiast, concluded the Sunday service by climbing on a skateboard and sailing around the skateboard park.